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. comcast nbcuniversal. >>> the defense department proposed slashing its army for the first time in 75 years setting up what promises to be a fierce fight on capitol hill. law makers on both sides of the aisle vowing to fight the proposed cuts to the pentagon budget. bret stevens joins us with more. they are taking the army down from what to what? >> 520,000 now, under 450,000 at some point in this term, which would leave us with an army as small as it's been since 1940 before the eve of the second world war. >> on the other hand, he's increasing special forces from 66,000 to 70,000 and taking down the marines slightly from 190 to 182,000. status quo mostly there. what do you make of this? is it as risky as some of the critics say? >> i think it is. for instance, with an army of 450,000 men, if we had that in 2007, we never could have contemplated a surge. >> surge in iraq. >> the surge in iraq which allowed us to win the war, at least in iraq. the army -- let's not forget the army was too small back at the end of the first bush administration. that's why we had to fight the iraq/iran wars s
you back 14 years. defense secretary donald rumsfeld said we're going to have a revolution in the future we're not going to be fighting lower-tech fights. we need a high-tech force. and that's what happened when a bunch of guys with box cutters went on planes. we don't know, the responsibility of the superpower can be prepared for a variety of contention. >> is the american public prepared to finance what brett is talking about? >> what happened in europe, the german army is 32,000 or something like that. they simply don't have the defense spending such as the french and british. >> american public will support these kinds of commitments only if the american president uses the leadership to explain to them why it's necessary. and let's sort of understand the context. you mentioned the pivot to asia. made a special trip to asia to reassure that it was real. they doubted our commitment to syria. in all of the areas of the world that senses the united states is pulling back. and if we cut through defense forces like this, they're going to start making deals with whoever they n
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